Monday, January 7, 2008

Coconut dal okra curry

My husband is the kind who says that he likes simple food. The reality is that it's very hard to please him, as he is a real fusspot. He is more of a vegetarian than a non-vegetarian; he doesn’t like Indian non-vegetarian food, as we tend to boil the meat. But he loves a big piece of steak – medium rare (now, isn’t he weird for an Indian).

In his house, there was (rather still is) always a big pot of Sambar especially for him. If I serve my husband Sambar 365 days a year, he will be the happiest person in this world. After we got married, we continued this 'tradition' of having Sambar every day. Needless to say, it wasn't long - two days - before I was sick of having Sambar. It took a little work, but I've weened him off Sambar. Now, especially on weekends, I try to cook something different, although vegetarian. The base of the curries that I cook on weekends are usually experiments with different kinds of dal (lentils).

Today, I came across this Okra curry recipe from Flavours of the spice coast by Mrs K.M. Mattew. Okra is one of my favorite vegetables. I love it as a suki (dry) sabji with chapatti (an Indian bread). I also love it fried till it’s crispy. The original recipe by Mrs K.M. Mattew is Okra in coconut milk gravy; the only change I made to the recipe was I added Toor dal to it. The dal gives the curry some texture and thickness, which is great on a mountain of rice.

  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp aniseed powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups okra (washed, dried with a paper towel, cut the top and bottom)
  • ¼ cup onions sliced
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3-4 green chilies
  • 1 ½ cups thin coconut milk
  • ½ cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Lime juice
  • ½ cup cooked Toor dal
  • Few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
Heat oil in a vessel and sauté the okra, till you see small bits of brown color on
them. Keep aside.

In the same vessel sauté the onions, ginger, chilies and curry leaves. Add the spices and sauté till the spices are well incorporated. Pour in the thin coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Add the cooked dal, okra, salt, and lime juice. When the gravy thickens add the thick coconut milk. You might need to add a bit of water if the gravy thickens too much.
Serve hot with rice.

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